I walk the line.

If you read my last RoW80 update, you’d have noticed I’m in a little bit of a funk, and, this morning, it hit me like a brick wall exactly why I’ve been feeling that way. I have to admit, it’s pretty uplifting to understand yourself so deeply that you can pinpoint the source of a problem, especially if that allows you to recognize it and work past it. The problem is that I am very much a linear author: when I start a story or a book, I start at the beginning and, when I get to the end, I stop. Seems pretty basic, right? Well, I know there’s a lot of authors out there who work differently, work by scenes, write things as the muse comes to them and worry about putting them together later. They can write the beginning, jump to the end, write something for the middle, and then compose something to go with the beginning again. I…can’t do that. I’ve tried, on occasion, but it never seems to work for me. I start at one point and go along as the story progresses.

When I went through the first edits of Soulless, I knew I’d be adding at least one more chapter. The response from beta readers confirmed that it needed to be added, and then I started writing it and realized that it’s probably going to be at least two more chapters. And that’s okay. It’s adding some very important world-building and character development details, but I realize that I’m having a lot of difficulty writing them, despite knowing what’s going to be in them, because I’m writing them out of order. It’s throwing me off, making it difficult for me to really work on it. Thus my current funk. Everything is all off because I’m doing things in a way that I wouldn’t normally like to do them.

And that’s a good thing. If I want to move on, if I want to have this ready by my August 15th deadline, then I have to forge through something that’s uncomfortable for me, and I’ll be a better writer because of it. It isn’t easy, but I’m constantly preaching the importance of striving forward despite the difficulties, so now I’ve got to put my money where my mouth is. Will I be able to pump out the chapter a day that I was previously mastering? Hahaha, not a chance. But I’ll get there, and then, after the hiccup, it’s back to smooth sailing and editing and I’ll have a much stronger book for it.

Anyone else feel the need to write their stories in a linear fashion? Or do you write better writing the scenes in a different order and putting them together later? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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5 thoughts on “I walk the line.

  1. I’m very much a linear writer. I’ve tried skipping ahead and writing a different scene when I get stuck on one. And…I just can’t. Because I know something that happens in the earlier scene, could affect the later one. Even though I plot out the story, it often changes. So, I have trouble jumping around. Adding things in later is a bit easier for me though.

  2. I am so, so linear. I would freak out if I had to write out of order. So I get how hard it is to ADD stuff in the middle. I’ve had to do that, and I’ve had trouble making it…fit. But you’re right, it helps us grow as writers when we step out of our comfort zone.

  3. I’m getting over the need to write in a linear fashion. Writing linear was making me lose interest in what I was writing. Scrivener has been a big help there. I can do my initial outlining there, add scenes, reorder them, and delete them, and keep all of my research, character sketches, etc. in one place. I had been using it by pantsing my way thru the first draft, adding it to Scrivener, breaking it apart, and adding or removing scenes as I went through the story; you might want to try something like that.

    1. John, if I have to add something out of sequence, I find myself having trouble “connecting” the two parts together. How do you deal with that? It’s like, as long as everything is flowing, it all connects. Adding stuff later between other scenes feels out of place.

      1. I get all the individual scenes in the order I originally planned, then see how well they fit together. If scene B comes after scene A, but they don’t seem to fit, I might end up modifying one or both scenes, or adding a scene between them, or even discarding one of the scenes and writing a new one. It’s like putting a movie together. You have the scenes that were added according to when the actors were available, then a continuity person comes in and stitches them together.

        It’s an adjustment, certainly. It requires a pretty good outline, which can change depending on how everything is working together. Now, as I mentioned, I have done it where I pants my way thru the first draft (which is crap, anyway) and use that to build an outline. Scrivener is good because you can storyboard the whole story from stem to stern, move the scenes around, etc.

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